A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) are reprogrammable ICs containing an array of configurable logic cells also known as a fabric. A typical FPGA fabric contain between a few thousands to millions of reprogrammable gates. The ability to reprogram FPGAs after leaving the factory allows for faster prototyping, fix bugs, and potentially shorter time to market compared to ASICs.

The major players in the FPGA market are Altera and Xilinx (which Intel acquired in 2015).

FPGAs are typically programmed with VHDL or Verilog.

Cyclone II EP2C5[edit | edit source]

The EP2C5 Cyclone II development board is a cheap way to start playing with a FPGAs. These boards comes with an older Altera EP2C5T144C8 Cyclone II FPGA and can be found on Ebay for around $22 CAD. To program these boards, you will also need a USB blaster and a copy of Quartus II 13.0 SP1 from Altera's website.

The EP2C5 Cyclone II FPGA has:

  • 4068 logic elements
  • 26x 4k RAM blocks (119,898 bits)
  • 13 multipliers
  • 2 PLLs
  • 89 IO
  • 300 MHz

The board comes with a EPCS4 flash and is driven with a 50 MHz oscillator. 3 LEDs are connected to pins 3, 7, and 9. A push button is connected to pin 144. The board can be programmed via the JTAG or Advanced Serial port.

RAM must be provided externally to this board.

See more about this board at:

See Also[edit | edit source]